Soap Opera Digest: Could either of you have imagined a year ago that we would be having this conversation?
Jon Lindstrom: Quite simply, no!
Genie Francis: Not necessarily, but I’m thrilled that we are!
Digest: There’s a lot of enthusiasm for this new pairing of yours. You’re, like, the hottest new couple on daytime!
Francis: You’re kidding me. Really?
Francis: Oh, my God, that’s fantastic! I really didn’t know that. I got good remarks about it from a couple of friends, but the fact that you’re calling us the hottest new couple is music to my ears. I thought those days were over for me!
Lindstrom: You and me both, kid!
Digest: We did a poll asking GH viewers who their favorite new pairing was and Laura/Kevin tied for the win.
Francis (gasps): Jesus Louiseus, we’ve still got it! [Lindstrom and Francis crack up.]
Lindstrom: Well, one of us does. I’m not sure it’s me!
Digest: You were on the show at the same time back in the 1990s, but you didn’t really work together. Do you have backstage memories of one another from that time?
Francis: Yeah, sure. I remember bumping into him in the hallway and saying hello, but it was never any more than that. It was a friendly acquaintance.
Lindstrom: I always got a great vibe off Genie, but never really had the chance or the opportunity to find out what was behind the vibe. And now, fortunately, I do.
Francis: Oh, that’s so sweet!
Digest: Let’s cut to the present. Did it take you by surprise, Jon, when Kevin got an actual storyline?
Lindstrom: Yes, it did. It was a couple of years ago that Kevin’s journey came to an abrupt halt, if it ever really started, when he discovered Lucy and Scott together at the Nurses’ Ball. And frankly, I wasn’t really interested in doing another “Kevin and Lucy get back together” story; the deception was so great, I felt it would require a real, concerted storyline for it to even hold water. I don’t think Genie was on the show then.
Francis: I don’t think I was, no.
Lindstrom: A bunch of us were being brought back for hellos. It was me, Jack Wagner [ex-Frisco], people like that kind of being rolled up in a dump truck, dumped out in front of the GENERAL HOSPITAL building and two days later, the truck would roll back up and we’d all get on it. So, no, I didn’t expect anything.
Digest: How did you find out that Kevin and Laura were going to be paired?
Lindstrom: I happened to be there one day when Kevin was counseling somebody and [Executive Producer] Frank Valentini stopped me in the hall. He said, “Please keep this under wraps, but there’s something we’d really like to do with you, and I’ll tell you about it later.” I said, “Oh, okay.” I mean, you hear that all the time. But then I got a phone call from him and he explained that this is what they were thinking. I said, “Man, I’m on that like white on rice!” I’ve always been a big admirer of Genie’s work and the chance to work with an actor as good as she is, I will jump at any time. I felt that it would be given the kind of substance and consideration that I would want to spend my time doing, and it has been. So, that’s where I am. Genie, take it away!
Francis: I’m just sitting over here smiling, hearing these nice things said about me! I feel the same way about Jon. I remember watching his entrance to the show way back when, when he was doing [Kevin’s twin] Ryan, the crazy man, and there was so much excitement in the building about, “Have you seen the new guy? He’s really good!” People were stopping to watch the monitor.
Francis: Oh, yeah! Definitely. There was a big buzz about you.
Lindstrom: I did not know that!
Francis: Well, now you do, Jonny! There was a very big buzz because you are such a talented actor. And the opportunity to work with a wonderful actor, for me, that’s just pleasure. I can’t work to my best level without actors who can be there with me or above me and I think Jon is right there, so I am thrilled. I am also happy because I had one of the bigger romances in soap operas, the Luke and Laura thing. That was iconic and huge and it was really fun. There were many things about it that I enjoyed. For many years, I thought, “Well, it’s just not going to be quite like that again. It won’t be fun like that again, exciting like that again.” To have that not be true has been wonderful. It’s a really nice thing for me, after all these years, to have another big success in a couple.
Digest: Why do you think this pairing has struck a chord with fans?
Francis: Gosh, I don’t know how to answer that. People ask me that about the Luke and Laura thing: “Why did that work so well?” I don’t really know. I would say that we had a nicely written story and I had a wonderful actor to work opposite and there’s a certain kind of chemistry that is there, but I don’t know why it is there for some and not for others. What I find most amazing is that this particular creative team knew that this chemistry was going to work. That I think is pretty impressive.
Lindstrom: I think chemistry counts for a lot. When it works, it’s always a great surprise, and if you’re really, really lucky, it creates its own kind of creative ball that rolls. I feel very fortunate. I think people weren’t sure that Kevin and Laura would work together; people told me that. And I’m just really gratified that it has. This one was, like, instantaneous.
Francis: I had exactly the same experience. I would tell somebody, “They’re thinking about putting me with Jon Lindstrom,” and they would go, “Really?” They weren’t quite sure about it. But it worked beautifully, which, again, kudos to Frank and the creative team that thought this all up!
Digest: Much of the audience saw both characters fall into what they thought would be their one great love. There’s something really charming about them finding love again.
Francis: I think everyone wants to know that there’s a second chance, and certainly, for people who are older and were not expecting to find love again, it’s a nice story to know that there are more chances in life.
Lindstrom: There are many chances in life, but I think there’s only a few you can commit yourself to. I like that side of the story a lot. For both Kevin and Laura, the losses were great. The fact that that hole is being filled, to me, is very sweet.
Francis: I also think there is something very cute about how when they are together, they get very young. There’s a sweetness to it that I really enjoy.
Lindstrom: Yeah, to feel like a kid again, that’s part of the attraction, at least for Kevin.
Digest: Are there scenes you’ve done thus far that stick out to you as particularly satisfying?
Francis: I’ve been happy with everything we’ve done. You know, they ask a lot of me. They want a lot of big, emotional stuff, and as I’m getting older, I find that I don’t come undone quite the way I did when I was 30 [laughs]! When I’m unhappy with a scene, it’s because I’m judging myself for not having reached a high enough level of emotionality. But you know, that eternal ingénue thing, God [sighs]. It’s got to be over. Seriously, man! Stick to matriarch!
Lindstrom: God bless you, Genie. She has carried a lot of the emotional load because of the nature of the story, having to do with missing children and death and lots of stuff.
Digest: Genie, I don’t know if the audience could take it if you were able to be any more emotional! Some of us are still recovering from Laura confronting Valentin about Nikolas’s death.
Francis: Aw, thank you.
Lindstrom: That really was stellar. That was a pleasure to be a part of.
Francis: Now we just need to find some new stuff, because they can’t do any more dead children for Laura. I’m over it! [They laugh.]
Lindstrom: “We’re all out of dead children, I’m sorry.”
Francis: Yes, hopefully!
Digest: So, Jon, I gotta know: What have you discovered is behind Genie’s vibe?
Francis: Can I hang up now? I have a feeling that this is going to be way too uncomfortable! He knows I’m listening [laughs]!
Lindstrom: If I could figure out the vibe and bottle that sucker, I’d make a lot more money than they’re paying me! In a nutshell, I would say that I have happily discovered that Genie is the lovely, wonderful person that I always suspected she was.
Francis: I feel the same way. There is a lot of respect between us, a respect for what the other one is doing.
Lindstrom: Yes, I came to this party with a lot of respect, and that has only gone up. I look at Genie across the stage and I trust her. I trust that what’s going to come at me is going to be honest and real and something I can respond to. I’m really grateful for that. It sucks when you can’t trust your scene partner!
Francis: Oh, my God, it is just awful, and I have been in those situations with certain actors. I think what Jon said does sum up what makes this fun for me. When you can just be with your partner, be completely in the moment and know that they’ve got your back, wonderful things can happen, wonderful surprises. And there’s a lot of joy in that.
To check out photos from the early years of GH, click here.